Social Natives ≠ Digital Natives

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #337.

I didn’t send out last week’s issue as I was away on a retreat in the middle of nowhere. No TVs, limited Internet, and campers. The good news is that I was able to listen to Project Hail Mary, the new novel by Andy Weir on the way out, back, and while hiding in my cabin. 🙂

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The 10 tactics of fascism

Fascism is a cult of the leader, who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by immigrants, leftists, liberals, minorities, homosexuals, women, in the face of what the fascist leader says is a takeover of the country’s media, cultural institutions, schools by these forces.

Reading Ourselves to Death

A long-form piece from Kit Wilson on the effect of the written word on our perception of reality.

Reading and writing have a profound impact on the way we think, interact, and make sense of the world. Reading encourages us to push pause on the outside world, reflect and learn from what we’ve read, and then use this to make sense of our experiences.

Wilson suggests that we spend so much time “reading” and drowning in text (content) and that we do not take time to reflect. We ultimately create and live in a reality that confirms what we’ve been consuming.

The mind is dulled, not fed, by inordinate reading, it is made gradually incapable of reflection and concentration, and therefore of production…. Never read when you can reflect; read only, except in moments of recreation, what concerns the purpose you are pursuing; and read little, so as not to eat up your interior silence. – A. G. Sertillanges in The Intellectual Life.


Still the Same

Agnes Arnold-Forster with a post problematizing the ways in which we suffer from overload in our information age.

In this newsletter, I’ve written quite a bit about how our collective attention span is collapsing. Not only is our attention collapsing…but it has been stolen. ヽ(°〇°)ノ

Arnold-Foster takes a historical look at the processes by which progress is turned pathological to address current concerns about the negatives of new technologies and the accompanying social transformations. 


Hype is a Weaponized Form of Optimism

New technologies seem to not be improving our lives or making them more efficient. We appear to be living in an unproductive bubble. Perhaps we need to look at this from a different perspective.

Thinking about technological progress versus technological hype requires us to consider why people buy and adopt new technologies in general. The technology acceptance model identifies two factors: perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness. Put simply, we embrace new technologies when they seem easy enough to use and when we believe they will help us do something worthwhile.


“The differences seem to be growing”: A look at the rising generation of news consumers

Last week, Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism released its annual report on digital news.

The results suggest that online sources are not filling up the gap as traditional news sources are waning. The top link for this section indicates that many people, especially youth are becoming increasingly disconnected from the news.


The Rise of the 0.5 Selfie

Now, this is my kind of selfie!!! 🙂

Youth are increasingly taking and sharing new kinds of selfies, ones that do not conform to social media expectations. Called 0.5 selfies (pronounced “point five” selfies, and not “half” selfies), they leverage ultra-wide-angle lenses, awkward angles, and exaggerated zooms to purposefully look distorted and crazy.

The 4 Ways You Might Live Forever

Inspired by Jason Crawford’s tweet thread, “We who are alive today could either be the first immortal generation—or the last mortal one.”

Given advances in technology, what could this mean?

  • Stop aging, or even rejuvenate – Advances on new molecules that might increase the lifespan
  • Upload your mind to the Internet – Scan, copy, and archive your consciousness
  • Cryonics – Freeze yourself and thaw later
  • The AI Singularity – After the singularity, we’ll all be dead or reach eternal life

The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other.

Bertrand Russell

The difference between myself now and, say, seven, eight years ago is I don’t feel like I’m seeking anymore.

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